Each year around 2.5 million shipping containers arrive in Australia from all over the world. This puts not only our country but the countries we trade with, at risk of incursions from invasive pests and diseases. Some of these pests and diseases can wipe out entire crops, kill animals, destroy the environment and threaten livelihoods.
To keep our region safe we assess the risk of importing goods from other countries and set conditions that must be met, before the goods can enter Australia.
This means exporting your goods to Australia can be complicated. There are many steps to take. These may change according to the product you are exporting, and where you are exporting from.
The information below provides a basic overview of some of the things you will need to consider if you want to export your goods to the Australian market.
Australian Government agencies
Biosecurity issues are not Australia’s only concern when it comes to imported goods. As an exporter to Australia, you will need to deal with different Australian Government agencies.
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Responsible for market access for your commodities. Also maintains biosecurity measures offshore, at the border and onshore.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Works with international partners and other countries to increase trade across all goods and commodities. Also creates investment opportunities.
The Australian Border Force
Puts in place Australia’s border enforcement policies and regulations to the protect the integrity of Australia’s borders. They are also the responsible agency for the import and export of goods to Australia and collecting border-related duties and taxes.
Using a broker
To help you through the exporting and importing process, you may choose to work with a broker or an Australian importer.
The Australian Border Force website has a list of licensed Australian brokers.
You can also find out more by contacting your local trade authority or support organisation.
If your goods arrive at our border and do not meet our import requirements, or your documents are not in order, there will be lengthy delays and additional costs.
Your goods will not be permitted entry. This may mean they will be returned to your country or destroyed.
Guide to exporting your goods
Follow this guide to find out what you need to consider when taking your goods to the Australian market.
First, find out if your goods can be exported to Australia. Some plant or animal products are not permitted entry because the risk of a pest or disease entering Australia is too high.
Search import conditions
You can find out if your goods can be imported by using our Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON).
Search BICON to see what products can be exported to Australia. Products may need to meet certain import conditions before they will be permitted entry.
Find out more about how to use BICON.
If you can import your goods, use BICON to find out what the import conditions are that you will be required to meet.
The import conditions for your goods may vary depending on what country they are being sent from.
Work out what fees you will need to pay to import your goods to Australia. These may include permit fees and charges, tariffs, custom duties, and import processing charges.
Fees will vary according to the type and amount of goods you are importing.
As well as Australia’s import requirements, you will need to meet your country’s export requirements.
Find out more by contacting your local authorities.
There are several forms and documents you will need to complete to import your goods to Australia.
If you’re not working with a broker or an importer, you will need to understand what forms are required and how to correctly complete each one.
If these forms are not correct, your goods will not be permitted to enter Australia. This will mean lengthy delays and extra costs. Some of the forms and documents may include:
- application for import permit
- import declaration
- ocean bill of lading or master air waybill
- packing declarations
- cleanliness declaration
- phytosanitary certificate
- evidence of Identity (EOI) for digital certificates
- Customs Client Identifier (CCID) or Australian Business Number (ABN)
- Registration Form B319 to become a Client in the integrated Cargo System (ICS)
- manufacturer declarations.
You will also need to:
- make sure that the airport or seaport of first arrival in Australia is approved to land your goods
- book an on-arrival inspection
- book into an Approved Arrangement facility.
Find out about working with a broker or importer.
Before leaving your country, your goods must be packaged and treated to meet Australia’s import requirements.
When packing your goods:
- Make sure your container is free of contamination inside and out. This includes soil, grain, snails, insects, plant and animal material.
- Use packing materials such as synthetic foam that won’t harbour pests. Prohibited packing items such as straw, cartons, second-hand bags or sacks will be removed and destroyed.
Fresh produce may require special phytosanitary measures. BICON will have more details on how to meet these requirements.
There may also be labelling requirements that your goods must meet. Visit the Australian Border Force website to find out more about labelling.
Refer to the import conditions of your goods for all details.
There are several arrival checks and inspections before your goods are permitted to enter Australia. You will need to go through customs and a biosecurity officer will review your documents to ensure the goods meet Australia’s import conditions.
A biosecurity officer will also inspect the packaging and goods for live insects, weeds, seeds, diseases, and other biosecurity risk material or damage. If biosecurity risk material is found it will be sent for testing, and if it is determined to be a risk you will be notified, and your goods may be re-exported or destroyed. If no biosecurity concerns are found and all import conditions have been met, your goods will be released from biosecurity control and allowed to enter Australia.